The Shippers’ Association Lagos State (SALS) has threatened to challenge in Court alleged moves in some quarters to re-introduce the Pre-Destination Inspectors at the nation’s seaports.
The President of the association, Rev. Dr. Jonathan Nicol who gave this indication in a statement in Lagos on Wednesday stated that “we are very concerned about the speculations going on over the re-introduction of Pre-Destination Inspectors in our Ports again” adding that “the Nigerian government spent huge sums to train officials of the Nigeria Customs.”
Nicol recalled that the entire maritime stakeholders fought hard to bring back the Nigeria Customs to conduct destination inspection even as he posited that the equipment (scanners) handed over to the Nigeria Customs by the Destination Inspection Agents at the expiration of their contracts were dilapidated and was a deliberate ploy to make the customs service fail.
“And now they are scheming to return back to the dark days of Pre-Inspection of cargo. Shippers and Importers paid compulsory 1% surcharge – a scheme that sapped more than N28 billion every year. In addition, they, the Inspectors were raising the value of goods indiscriminately ‘in their own opinion.’
“We believe it is the failure of government import policies that attract detractors who wish to add to the woes of port users. They want to reduce the Nigeria Customs Service to ordinary workers without having a say on revenue generation. The Nigeria Customs makes more than N1 trillion for 2 years consecutively without scanning machines and government is happy about their improvements.
“Shippers have a channel to challenge excessive duty levied against our members through the Nigerian Shippers’ Council unlike those dark days that the future of our ports are in the hands of foreigners who have no good intentions for Nigerian importers and exporters and other port users”, he stated.
The SALS President observed that the Destination Inspection Agents cannot boast of any immovable investments in the country for the benefit of shippers and importers saying that Shippers’ Associations would definitely challenge this move in whatever means to stop the re-introduction of another Pre-Inspection regime.
“We are in agreement with the Vice-President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents and other well-meaning stakeholders in this respect. We thought that the National Assembly kicked against the move at one point. Shippers Association will challenge this move in Court”, Nicol concluded.
Photo: President, Shippers’ Association Lagos State, Rev. Dr. Jonathan Nicol.
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